Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MP3s of the Future. Is it a need or a want?

Today I was teaching the PET Design course in New York. As usual it was great to see the usability educated stretching and grabbing the new perspective. But an issue came up that was great. Our parents tell us that there are 'needs' and 'wants'. We learn that the 'wants' are not really that important.

But in the persuasion space, the emotional wants are VERY important indeed. Fulfilling the need for CONTROL has been shown to extend lives for people in nursing homes. So is that emotional need not important? We often think we make decisions logically. But so often; the logical conclusion is just a rationalization of an emotional decision.

So forget just targeting 'High Satisfaction'. That is no longer enough! We need to target deeper needs. That MP3 player is not just a player. It is a tool for social recognition and to support social acceptance. And if that is true, we'd better design one that works well for that! My son Noah (finishing his PhD in Game Usability at RPI) was taking the class and had a player around his neck. It flashed nicely when it played. It looked very interesting and attracted discusion. The world is no longer about an MP3 player with enough memory. So we'd better get over that! We better understand the deep drives and feelings. The interesting engineering work is in that space anyway.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why usability is no longer enough: the need to design for Persuasion, Emotion, & Trust (PET)

HFI's PET DesignTM offers a new approach to help companies influence and deepen their interactions with online customers through Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust. This methodology is the result of extensive research, pilot programs, and client engagements with Fortune 500 companies over the past several years.

Whether a website is e-commerce, informational, or transactional, its mandate is to establish deeper relationships with customers. Understanding how and why people make online decisions that lead to conversion, and the subtle motivators and emotional triggers that influence how they react to website messages and content, is vital to maximizing the success of a site.

Traditional usability practices focus on creating efficient sites that are simple and easy to use. Thus, usability deals with the “can do” aspect of design (i.e., can users find information, understand content, or complete a task?). But just because a site is easy to use doesn’t mean it will engage consumers and meet business goals.

HFI’s PET Design builds on a foundation of good usability, but goes beyond “can do” to optimize the values of persuasion, emotion, and trust, ultimately influencing what users will do on a website. This helps companies achieve their online objectives, whether that is getting people to buy a product, sign-up for a newsletter, donate to a cause, ask their doctor about a drug, vote for a candidate, invest, etc.

What are your thoughts about this shift toward persuasive design?

Dr. Schaffer is currently traversing the globe teaching PET Design and promoting user experience. He will make every effort to respond to posts as quickly as possible.